Soaked Kale and Spinach Salad
serves 4 – 6 | start to finish: 40 minutes (active time: 10 minutes)
This vegetarian version of ohitashi, which means “soaked” in Japanese, includes kale mixed with spinach. The spinach version is often found at Japanese restaurants in Seattle, but many leafy greens work with this recipe. What makes ohitashi distinct is the preparation technique: dropping the greens into boiling water, quickly cooling them, squeezing out the liquid, then allowing the greens to absorb a flavorful dressing.
1 bunch kale
1 large bunch spinach or 8 ounces baby spinach
4 cups water
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon soy or tamari sauce
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon mirin
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon sesame seeds, for garnish
Wash the greens and remove stems from the kale.
Bring the water and salt to boil in a large pot. Toss the kale into the water, stir it briefly with tongs, and cook for 3 minutes. Mix in the spinach with tongs, and cook for 1 more minute (if using baby spinach cook for 30 seconds). Immediately pour into a colander and run cold water over the greens to cool them and halt cooking.
Squeeze the water out of the greens and put onto a clean, damp dish towel or a sushi mat.
Arrange them into a tight log about 9 inches long and 2 inches wide. Roll the greens up and tightly squeeze out as much water as possible.
For a fancy presentation, slice the log into 3/4” pieces (slightly shorter than sushi rolls) using a very sharp knife. Arrange them in a shallow bowl. For a less formed presentation, pull the pieces apart after slicing and scatter the greens in a shallow bowl.
In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, sesame oil, mirin, and Dijon mustard. Pour it over the greens. If the greens are in formed pieces, turn them over in the dressing to help coat them. If the greens are left loose, toss them with the dressing using a fork.
Chill the greens and allow to soak for at least 30 minutes. Sprinkle the salad with sesame seeds.
vegetarian ● vegan ● dairy free • gluten-free, if using tamari